Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: GSL Was Very Concerned About Using SF As A Source Of ‘Prying’

By Colombo Telegraph

“Bogollagama said the GSL was very concerned about using Fonseka as a source of ‘prying’ into the actions of the government in Sri Lanka and was seeking ‘immediate action’ to prevent anything further from happening on November 4. He claimed that their sources told them that Department of Homeland Security had investigated war crimes in the past.” the US Embassy Colombo informed to Washington.

Fonseka -purpose of the interview was to gather information about the possible involvement in war crimes of Defense Secretary

The Colombo Telegraph found the relevant leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The cable recount details of a meeting the US Ambassador has had with the Foreign Minister Bogollagama on November 2, 2009. The cable classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” by the Deputy Chief of Mission Valerie C. Fowler.

The US Ambassador Butenis wrote “Bogollagama said what concerned the GSL were reports that a DHS lawyer had allegedly told Fonseka that the purpose of the interview was to gather information about the possible involvement in war crimes of SL Defense Secretary and president’s brother and U.S. citizen Gotabhaya Rajapaksa”

“Bogollagama said any questioning of Fonseka about SL ‘official’ information would be frowned upon by the GSL and ‘could seriously impact our relationship.’” She further wrote.

On November 2, Foreign Minister Bogollagama called in Ambassador regarding reports that the U.S Department of Homeland Security had requested that Sri Lankan Chief of Defense (CHOD) Sarath Fonseka come in for a ‘voluntary’ interview with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Oklahoma City on November 4.

Related news link to this cable- WikiLeaks: Fonseka’s Hawaii visit cancelled due to his involvement in human-rights violations

Related news link to Fonseka’s DHS interview – WikiLeaks: Fonseka tried to shift blame on war crime to Gota

Below we give a part of the confidential cable.

VZCZCXRO6168
OO RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHLM #1006/01 3061237
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 021237Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0714
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA PRIORITY 2003
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 9039
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 7277
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 5196
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 3431
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 5148
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0021
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0683
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 4259
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI PRIORITY 9602
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI PRIORITY 6896
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO PRIORITY 1357
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3806
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 COLOMBO 001006

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INSB

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/02/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF PHUM PTER EAID MOPS CE
SUBJECT: MFA CALLS IN AMBASSADOR OVER DHS QUESTIONING OF
CHOD FONSEKA

COLOMBO 00001006  001.2 OF 003

Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION VALERIE C. FOWLER.  REASONS 1.4
(B) AND (D).

1. (C) On November 2, Foreign Minister Bogollagama called in
Ambassador regarding reports that the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security had requested that Sri Lankan Chief of
Defense (CHOD) Sarath Fonseka come in for a "voluntary"
interview with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
office in Oklahoma City on November 4.  (NOTE: Fonseka is a
Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) in the United States and has
family and property in Oklahoma.  He currently is in the U.S.
visiting family and re-establishing his LPR status.  END
NOTE.)  Bogollagama said the interview was a matter of
"urgency and relevance" to the government of Sri Lanka (GSL)
and asked for information to "help us understand and
formulate a proper reaction."
2. (C) Ambassador recounted recent developments regarding
Fonseka, including cancellation of his invitation to attend
the recent Chiefs of Defense conference in Hawaii due to U.S.
concerns about his involvement in human-rights violations
during the conflict with the LTTE.  She also explained that
as a green-card holder, Fonseka was required by U.S. law to
confirm his status as an LPR.  But as regards the DHS request
to see Fonseka on November 4, Ambassador said she did not
know the specific reason for the invitation.

3. (C) Bogollagama said what concerned the GSL were reports
that a DHS lawyer had allegedly told Fonseka that the purpose
of the interview was to gather information about the possible
involvement in war crimes of SL Defense Secretary (and
president's brother and U.S. citizen) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
He said the GSL was very concerned about using Fonseka as a
source for "prying" into the actions of the government in Sri
Lanka and was seeking "immediate action" to prevent anything
further from happening on November 4.  He claimed that their
sources (presumably the law firm Patton Boggs, which embassy
understands has been hired to represent the GSL) told them
that DHS had investigated war crimes in the past.
Bogollagama said any questioning of Fonseka about SL
"official" information would be frowned upon by the GSL and
"could seriously impact our relationship."
BUTENIS

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